Jun 11 2009

Update on Gulf Tower fledgling

Published by at 9:10 am under Peregrines

This news from Beth Fife of the PA Game Commission:  The younger (and larger) peregrine chick at Gulf Tower was rescued from the ground at the Federal Building downtown on Wednesday evening.  She is being examined by a rehabber.  If uninjured she will be returned to the nest. 

Look for updates in the Comments area.

51 responses so far

51 Responses to “Update on Gulf Tower fledgling”

  1. Kate St. Johnon 11 Jun 2009 at 9:55 am

    Update Thursday morning from Beth Fife: The fledgling has a slight head injury, no breaks, no blood in fecal, a little weak. We’ll build her up and give her a little rest, then return her to the nest box ASAP.

  2. gloriaon 11 Jun 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Is there something in the nest box? It is 12:01 and on the right it looks as though there is a bird? Or are these old eyes just making something out of nothing?

  3. Kate St. Johnon 11 Jun 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Yes that is an adult – probably Louie. I’ve heard he has been hanging out at the nest a lot.

  4. Elspethon 11 Jun 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Kate – any news on the McKees Rocks Bridge peregrines?

  5. Kate St. Johnon 11 Jun 2009 at 1:48 pm

    PennDOT is well aware of the peregrines at the McKees Rocks Bridge and is scheduling around their needs. The bridge deck will be closed to cars but the peregrines are not near the deck.
    PennDOT likes peregrines on bridges because the falcons reduce the number of pigeons nesting in the nooks & crannies. Pigeon poop is bad for bridges.

  6. Tracion 11 Jun 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Errr…I think we are all wondering how they are actually doing? Did all the eggs hatch? Are the chicks healthy? were they banded? are they near to fledging? I can’t find any info on them except what you have posted on your blog.

    They are a mysterious bunch…

  7. Elspethon 11 Jun 2009 at 3:18 pm

    That’s good! I just wondered if anyone was watching them and had seen any of the chicks flying yet, or are they younger …

  8. Pattyon 11 Jun 2009 at 4:00 pm

    My opinion of PennDOT just jumped up 200 percent. Do we kno w where the nest is at the McKees Rocks Bridge?

  9. gloriaon 11 Jun 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Kate: Is it possible that after her break and rehab that she won’t fly? I guess Louie is watching for her he is frequently sitting at the nestbox.

  10. Kate St. Johnon 11 Jun 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Traci & Elspeth, the young at McKees Rocks were banded but unless someone spends time watching the bridge – and tells me what they see – there’s no way I’ll know what happens there.
    Patty, PennDOT and the Game Commission know where the nest is. The public do not.
    Gloria, the fledgling at Gulf Tower bumped her head and just needs R&R for a day or two. She will soon be returned to the nest. Yes, Louie is watching for her. There is no other way for him to know where she went. He will get a pleasant surprise in a day or two.

  11. Elspethon 11 Jun 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Thank you Kate – you are so patient with all of our questions! 🙂

  12. Kimon 12 Jun 2009 at 8:11 am

    So glad she is okay! Hopefully all she will need is a little rest and then she can return where she belongs.

    Thanks for the update!

  13. Jillon 12 Jun 2009 at 8:15 am

    I am new to the webcam and watching. Where do I give a donation to keep this falcon project going?

  14. Kate St. Johnon 12 Jun 2009 at 9:12 am

    You can donate to the National Aviary Urban Peregrine project online here:
    Make sure that in the Donation Information area you use the drop down box to select “Urban Peregrine Falcons.” Otherwise the money will go into their general fund.

    The Aviary is in need of a better camera at Gulf Tower plus there’s the annual fee of hosting the live feed at both Pitt and Gulf so you can see that action. An outdoor webcam is a one-time purchase of $1000 to $1500. The live camera feed on the web costs an additional $2000 every season.
    Every donation helps.

  15. gloriaon 12 Jun 2009 at 9:41 am

    Kate: Louie (I guess that’s him) is persistant… How long will he keep going to the nest and calling out for his baby? How is she doing today? Sorry for all the questions, I am amazed at his behavior.

  16. Kate St. Johnon 12 Jun 2009 at 9:49 am

    I doubt that he is calling, probably just waiting. (By the way, peregrines have very little sense of smell so he will not be sniffing for her.) I have no idea how long he will wait at the nest.

    Because the Gulf Tower is Louie’s territory he will stay downtown even if no other peregrines – including Tasha – are around.

    When the chick is returned she will be very well fed & fit. Even if Louie is not at the nest at the time she will be able to go a day without food – but she won’t have to because her parents will find her. She will probably scream because she’s afraid of humans & he will hear her & come from wherever he is to see her. Even if he is too far to hear, he makes the rounds of his territory all the time and will glance at his nest from a distance. He can see movement from quite far away & will come to her.

  17. Stephenon 12 Jun 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Speaking of territories, how large is a Peregrine’s typical territory? Do the Gulf Tower and Cathedral peregrines ever overlap and/or clash? Seems like top of the line predators often require large territories, and downtown is not far at all from Oakland as the crow (or peregrine) flies.

  18. Kate St. Johnon 12 Jun 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Per Cornell’s Birds of North American Online, the center of a peregrine’s territory is its nest. The distance between nests varies a lot, probably based on food supply. Generally they nest about 3 miles apart from each other but this distance can decrease to as little as 0.2 miles on sea cliffs where seabirds are extremely abundant.

    Downtown and Oakland are about 2.5 miles apart. This is supposedly too close but the territories probably aren’t perfect circles. I think the Pitt peregrines’ territory includes all of Oakland (pigeons) and extends southward and eastward to Schenley Park, Greenfield, Hazelwood and the Mon River to Homestead (ducks and shorebirds). I think Gulf Tower’s territory includes all of Downtown (pigeons) and probably runs up the Allegheny River to 28th St and down the Ohio a bit.

    I’m sure long ago they worked out who gets the Hill District and who gets the Mon River at South Side.

  19. Sallyon 12 Jun 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Hi Kate, Do you think Louie is hanging around the nest looking/waiting for his missing offspring? That would show parental concern that I’m sure some people don’t associate with birds and animals.

  20. Kate St. Johnon 12 Jun 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Birds certainly have concern for their young. They protect, defend and feed them and will even protect and feed foster “kids.”
    (see: http://www.birdsoutsidemywindow.org/2009/05/13/foster-mom/)
    I don’t know, but Louie may be waiting for his missing fledgling. She disappeared in the direction he’s been looking.

  21. gloriaon 12 Jun 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Louie comes back every few hours, walks around the nest, lays in the nest box and then hops over to the left ledge. I am really amazed at this behavior. I would have thought that with birds they would just go on if their babies were gone from the nest. Do falcons recognize their offspring later on? I know that is a dumb question, but I am new to this and can’t even believe that I am seeing the father bird looking for his offspring. They obviously have some instinct/intelligence where the care of their young are concerned.
    Thanks for your help.

  22. Kate St. Johnon 12 Jun 2009 at 5:08 pm

    We don’t know for sure that they recognize them later – but they probably do.

  23. Patsyon 12 Jun 2009 at 7:18 pm

    For anyone that may be interested there are still two chicks that have not yet fledged in Harrisburg. I have been watching them a good bit today on their webcam, and it has been very interesting.

  24. Jameson 13 Jun 2009 at 7:15 pm

    I happen to be walking by the federal building on my way home from the Gulf Building and happened to notice the game commission taking away ‘Gloria’ the falcon fledging.
    There were several federal employees casually smoking with very little interest. When inquiring, they responded, ‘oh it’s just one of those falcons, they hunt around here, he’s down.’ It’s amazing how these falcons have adapted to the downtown workers and the downtown workers have adapted to them, just being another bird.
    Let’s just hope the folks at the Rehab get the fledging back into the nest quickly and quietly. The parents seem to be looking for her. Thanks ‘lady federal guard ‘ for taking notice and acting on it.

  25. Jameson 14 Jun 2009 at 11:18 am

    Again yesterday upon exiting the Mellon Square parking garage, the Gulf parents were oddly circling low and screaming over Mellon Square park with little notice except for myself. I really enjoy observing our downtown wildlife within the hustle and bustle, I just hope the wildlife rehab won’t publicize on it when they return the fledging.

  26. Kate St. Johnon 14 Jun 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Interesting news. Perhaps the second Gulf fledgling was at Mellon Square begging for food, perhaps out of sight from the ground. Mellon Square has so many pigeons it’s a good place to wait for dinner if you’re a peregrine.

  27. Tracion 14 Jun 2009 at 9:23 pm

    I, on the other hand, feel that the Game Commission/Aviary should let the public know. The more people are educated about the Falcons, the more hope there is that they will care about them and help financially support efforts to provide for them. Who paid for the downed fledgling’s care while in rehab? The few who are dedicated to their preservation did. And there is never enough money.

    Wildlife belongs to us all and all of us need to be educated about every aspect; both positive and negative, and all of us need to be held accountable for proper stewardship. If the public isn’t kept informed about those birds – then the odds increase that someone just walks around a downed bird and ignores it or doesn’t bother to slow down on a busy street and runs one down. And when that happens – all of us lose. 🙁

  28. Kate St. Johnon 15 Jun 2009 at 7:29 am

    Well, actually these things are publicized. Both the Game Commission & Aviary let me know what’s going on and they send me pictures – and I let you know. Whether the media picks up the story has more to do with whether they deem it news-worthy or not.
    For a variety of reasons peregrine-related events cannot be pre-announced but you hear about them almost immediately.

  29. Jameson 15 Jun 2009 at 10:03 am

    the donate link for falcon rehab was already posted, I believe the Aviary is the best place to shelter and rehab these falcons when they are down and I also believe that these fledgings are entitled to their privacy and has no business being used in the media for funding. I don’t understand why the Aviary is not sheltering the fledging now. I ‘m sure these wildllife rehabilitation centers get pretty excited when the game commission brings them one of these ‘media falcons’


  30. Kate St. Johnon 15 Jun 2009 at 10:35 am

    Just to clear up who is allowed to rehab a peregrine and who is not. The National Aviary does not have a rehab license & is not allowed to treat wild birds. Whenever someone calls the Aviary about a wild bird the Aviary directs them to the Game Commission and/or local rehabbers. For more on this see their website at http://www.aviary.org/inv/helpBird.php

    Because of the Aviary’s special relationship with the Pittsburgh peregrines they are notified when a peregrine is injured. The Aviary can also house a permanently injured bird as part of their collection. There is probably a lot of paperwork to get this done because the bird must be certified as un-releasable.

    Rehabbers purposely do not publicize when a bird is admitted because the bird needs medical attention, not media attention. Occasionally, as in the case of the arctic peregrine who stopped here last fall, there is media coverage when a bird is released. By then the bird is fully restored to health.
    (Arctic peregrine: http://www.birdsoutsidemywindow.org/2008/11/06/arctic-peregrine-makes-unplanned-stop-in-pittsburgh/)

  31. jameson 15 Jun 2009 at 5:43 pm

    There’s a girl that’s works over at the Federal Building, that rescues many of the downtown birds. I know of a couple of workers in the Gulf who have taken birds over to her or found her somehow. I heard she takes them to the appropriate wildlife rehabilitation places. So I guess the fledgling knew where to go when he got in trouble.

  32. gloriaon 16 Jun 2009 at 7:08 am

    Any update on the GT baby?

  33. Kate St. Johnon 16 Jun 2009 at 5:21 pm

    I heard from Beth Fife that the young peregrine is still in rehab. It turns out she bonked her head hard so she needs time to recover before coming home. I misunderstood how long this would take. More news later.

  34. gloriaon 16 Jun 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Kate: Thanks for the update. Will her parents still hang around looking for her or will she be able to “fend for herself” upon her eventual release?

  35. Kate St. Johnon 16 Jun 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Her parents will still be at the Gulf Tower – it’s the center of their territory. When she returns to the nest they will find her and realize she needs help. She will have to get better at flying and will need to learn to hunt.

  36. gloriaon 16 Jun 2009 at 10:04 pm

    I hope all goes well for her….

  37. Kellyon 17 Jun 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Thanks for the update, Kate. Glad to know that she’s still recovering…I was beginning to worry!

  38. CHWon 18 Jun 2009 at 2:08 pm

    I believe that the remaining unhatched eggs were taken from the nest when the chicks were banded at the Gulf Tower. Any word on if tests were run and if so what they showed. I am sad that the chicks have left the nest at CL, but glad that they have all survived..so far so good. Will be hoping for the complete recovery of the chick from the Gulf Tower..and thanks so much for the great blog!

  39. Kate St. Johnon 18 Jun 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Only 2 of the 3 unhatched eggs were still at the Gulf Tower nest on Banding Day. They were collected by the Game Commission and “candled” to see if a chick had begun to form in them. Both had chicks in them so both were fertile. We don’t know why the chicks died before hatching.

  40. gloriaon 18 Jun 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Kate: Any updates?

  41. Patsyon 21 Jun 2009 at 8:40 am

    I do believe Louie may have gotten a special Father’s Day present, or am I mistaken?

  42. Patsyon 21 Jun 2009 at 8:49 am

    Maybe not, I don’t see it anymore.

  43. Kate St. Johnon 22 Jun 2009 at 5:50 pm

    no news. You all will be the first to know if I hear anything. No news is no news.

  44. Nathalieon 29 Jun 2009 at 4:01 pm

    A young one is perched at the Gulf Tower nest. I first spotted her around 3 pm today. Has the injured fledging been returned? I would love to see a father-daugther reunion.

  45. Kate St. Johnon 29 Jun 2009 at 7:28 pm

    As far as I know the injured daughter has not been returned to the nest. I emailed about her last Friday & have not heard any news. No news.

  46. gloriaon 30 Jun 2009 at 10:01 pm

    I guess it doesn’t look very promising for the fallen falcon fledging does it? It doesn’t seem that the parents are looking for her any longer either. What is your take on the situation? Will the fledging have to stay in captivity? Or is there another way to get her out there in falcon society? Any information is appreciated.

  47. Kate St. Johnon 01 Jul 2009 at 11:08 am

    This news just in:
    Beth Fife says the juvenile peregrine from Gulf Tower is ready to be released in a couple of days but Beth’s not sure if she’ll bring her back to the box because she’s been gone for so long. Reason: If the bird’s parents don’t immediately recognize her there could be a territorial issue and the juvenile could get hurt.
    Since the juvenile is killing on her own, there’s a possibility she could be released somewhere else.
    When I hear more I’ll let you know.

  48. gloriaon 01 Jul 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Am glad to hear that she is doing well!!! Was getting worried about her. Will you be able to find out where she ends up (by her banding) eventually? Wish I knew more about this whole process. Thanks for all you do, it is much appreciated.

  49. faith Cornellon 01 Jul 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Good news indeed. The dedicated “humans” must have done good job finishing raising her. Faith c.

  50. Kate St. Johnon 09 Jul 2009 at 9:34 pm

    July 9, 2009: News at last!
    I have news of both Gulf Tower juvenile peregrines.
    First, the young peregrine who hit her head and was rescued from the street on June 10th has fully recovered and was released yesterday. Beth Fife said, “She flew very nicely, circled and flew off.” I don’t know where she was released but it wasn’t downtown. She is now independent and on her own.
    Her sister who remained downtown with her parents is also doing well. She was spotted perched on a high windowsill of the Frick Building, looking into the room to see what was going on. This is typical behavior for the downtown juvenile peregrines. For example:

    (I am also posting this news on the latest Gulf Tower peregrine blog, July 7, for those who might not notice this comment on such an old entry.)

  51. Jameson 10 Jul 2009 at 10:21 am

    the sister was spotted a few times this week after the lunch hour , quietly plucking her lunch off of the Oliver Buidling, across from Mellon Square

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